The Alabama Senate has delayed a vote on a package of bills addressing government consolidation and efficiency.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh had planned to get the bills up for a vote Thursday. Marsh says he decided to delay a vote until next week because the bills are complicated and senators want time to study them.
Replicas of two of the ships used by Christopher Columbus to explore the new world in the late 15th century are on Alabama's Gulf Coast.
Al.com reports (http://bit.ly/XnIy5B) that the replicas of the Nina and Pinta are open for tours through Sunday.
The ships had their beginnings in 1986, when the Columbus Foundation formed in the British Virgin Islands in an effort to build the vessels that Columbus used on his first voyage, the Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta.
Government consolidation and efficiency in on the agenda for the Alabama Senate.
Senate leaders said the Senate's work agenda Thursday will include a bill to consolidate and reorganize the more than 20 law enforcement programs in state government. The Senate also plans to take up bills cutting the number of legislative service agencies and reorganizing the state's information technology services, including creating a Cabinet-level secretary for information technology.
The Alabama House Education Policy Committee has approved a bill to give local school systems the ability to waive certain regulations or requirements.
The committee voted Wednesday afternoon in favor of the measure by Rep. Chad Fincher, R- Semmes.
Supporters, including state schools Superintendent Tommy Bice, told lawmakers that research has shown reducing rules and regulations can increase creativity in the classroom. Bice called the bill a vote of confidence in teachers and school leaders.
Alabama's governor is proposing an education budget that gives small increases to all levels of education from kindergarten through college.
Gov. Robert Bentley unveiled his recommended budgets Wednesday. His education budget includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for public school employees and a substantial expansion of Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.
The Alabama House's Health Committee is scheduled to consider two controversial issues as the 2013 session cranks up..
The committee will on Wednesday consider a bill by Democratic Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in Alabama. The bill is the first item on the House Health Committee agenda on the first committee meeting day during the 2013 regular session of the Alabama Legislature.
The Health Committee is scheduled to meet at the conclusion of the House session, probably about 9:30 a.m.
Gov. Robert Bentley says his proposed budgets for the new fiscal year are slightly better than this year's budgets.
Bentley told legislators in his State of the State address Tuesday night that Alabama's economy is improving and that's allowing him to recommend more education spending. His plan includes expanding Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and giving a 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise to teachers. He did not recommend a raise for state employees.